A Wild Dog’s Story

African Wild Dog

Description:

A poignant, true story about a heroic African Wild Dog named “Newky” whose exceptional life was scientifically documented over a period of five years by the worlds most renowned wild dog biologist, Dr. J. Weldon “Tico” McNutt.

Through Tico’s personal recollections, the film is the dramatic account of Newky’s life, a story that is both heartbreaking and important to understanding the challenges wild dogs face.

Set against the spectacular wilderness of Botswana’s Okavango delta, we follow Newky’s story from the dangers and joys of puppy-hood, through the loss of his siblings in encounters with lions, and into the trials of adulthood.

In a tragic twist of fate Newky’s entire pack is wiped out by an epidemic. Alone, he is forced to endure dangers that should be met by a strong, coherent pack. When finally he finds a mate, she is tragically killed by a farmer’s bullet. Newky remains undaunted, and ultimately succeeds in fathering a new generation of wild dogs.

This is a tale of struggle, endurance and triumph, and of one dog’s extraordinary spirit to win through against almost impossible odds. Above all, it is an emotionally powerful story that shows the complex natural and conservation challenges facing one of the world’s most endangered social mammals.

Positive results:

The wild dog has traditionally been perceived in a negative light, and treated as vermin throughout Africa. The film changed perceptions about African Wild Dogs amongst many viewers around the world:

“I have seen probably every wildlife documentary over the last 10 years. None has touched me so much as the Wild Dog’s Story. Never before has a documentary grasped like this one, the struggle for survival of wildlife. I never thought I could be brought to tears by a wildlife documentary, and I’m an ex-marine!!!”

Most importantly, perceptions were changed which directly saved Wild Dogs from persecution.

Namibian farmer: “I grew up in Namibia and spent years in Botswana. Wild dogs were a pest to me. How this film has changed my perception of them! Thank you for allowing us to understand and appreciate the wild dog.”

There are farmers who, as a direct result of viewing the film, contacted Dr McNutt to discuss wild dog management instead of shooting.

The Japanese used the film in children’s education. A writer from South America, inspired by the film, wrote a children’s story in Spanish about African Wild dogs, based on the film.

The film assisted the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust in fundraising, which significantly contributed to continuing this important study, that is now in its 3rd decade.

Contact/Links:

Produced by AFRISCREEN FILMS for BBC NATURAL WORLD
Producers: Tania “TJ’ Jenkins & Mike Holding
Postal: PO Box HA 40 HAK, Maun, Botswana
Phone: +267 6862570 /+267 6863721 /+267 6801123
www.afriscreen.com
Series Producer: Michael Gunton – BBC NHU
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00789jv
Also see: http://www.truenaturefilms.com/wilddog.htm
For more detailed information about Dr Tico McNutt’s work, please visit: http://www.bpctrust.org/

By Jason Peters

 

Elephants Without Borders

Title: Elephants Without Borders

Description:

Elsewhere in Africa elephants are in decline, but Botswana has an overpopulation problem with over 150,000. A pre-emptive cull of over 60,000 has been suggested. Dr. Mike Chase’s research finds real and meaningful solutions to Botswana’s problem. Chase is discovering their ancient migration routes, now blocked by expanding human settlement, and is lobbying the governments of neighboring counties to open gaps for safe passage.

Previously unrecorded annual gatherings, numbering over 5000 elephants, suggests an elephant intellect far more complex than previously imagined. Dr Chase believes that these clan gatherings reinforce bonds between family groups and that survival strategies are shared.

The film reveals new science about elephant movements and home range sizes. Chase tracks a bull elephant with an astounding home range of 35,000 sq kilometres – the largest ever recorded for an African elephant. Female home range sizes are discovered to be nearly five times the previously accepted average of 3000 square kilometres.

Bull elephants living in the Makgadigadi salt pans are filmed for the first time as Mike discovers how they survive in the hostile desert.

In the end the film reveals the solution: Chase has identified corridors that will allow Angola’s refugee elephants to return home after 30 years of civil war.

Positive results:

As documented by Dr. Mike Chase of Elephants Without Borders Organisation (“EWB”):

The film helped open dialogue between five African countries and has had a direct impact on elephant conservation in Botswana and beyond. The film has:

  • Provided EWB with an audience with the Botswana Government, who then provided EWB with funding to conduct the first independent aerial survey of elephants (and other wildlife) in the Botswana.
  • Boosted the profile of elephant conservation in KAZA (Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier), the world’s largest conservation area straddling Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The film has been viewed by the Government Departments in the five countries charged with formalising KAZA.
  • Aided EWB in securing funding from Conservation Agencies in the amount of US$50 000.00, all of which has been ploughed back into elephant conservation and the KAZA Transfronteir Conservation area.
  • Helped secure funding for EWB’s conservation farming project, in which EWB are researching techniques to keep elephants out of farmlands and thus reduce human elephant conflict.
  • Brought awareness which helped prioritise conservation corridors and areas to initially de-mine in South-eastern Angola in collaboration with the Angolan government and MgM demining company.
  • Created dialogue amongst decision makers on the decommissioning and re-alignment of Botswana’s Vet Fences.
  • Increased awareness amongst the youth about elephant conservation in Botswana.

Contact/Links:

Produced by AFRISCREEN FILMS for BBC NATURAL WORLD
Producers: Tania “TJ’ Jenkins & Mike Holding
http://www.afriscreen.com/elephants-without-borders.html
Series Producer: Tim Martin BBC NHU
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00hhf6f
For more detailed information about the Project and Mike Chase’s work, please visit: http://www.elephantswithoutborders.org

By Jason Peters